Think tank urges government to address rural broadband problems

A UK think tank has warned that challenges facing rural areas are still abundant due to a “lack of investment” and “chronic connectivity” issues.

The report from Parliament Street has called on the government to tackle such “forgotten and neglected” areas which are faced with problems like slow broadband, poor mobile and TV reception, and less bandwidth.

The think tank points out that many of these regions are last served due to the economic pressures of constructing expensive networks in sparsely-populated areas; however, it also notes that in order for the country to achieve its strategic goals of nationwide connectivity, remote locations also require upgrading.

A statement from Parliament Street said: “The government is planning changes to policies, these changes should support farmers, tackle chronic connectivity in rural communities, improve and preserve landscapes, restore wildlife, protect the environment and build countryside character.

“Any legislative changes should be tailored to reflect local character, working with local areas and communities. We should see this time of political uncertainty as an opportunity to regenerate outdated rural policies and support the rural communities of the United Kingdom.

“Lack of investment from consecutive governments in agriculture and rural affairs has left rural communities severely challenged. The heartland of the UK is being forgotten and neglected, and became a blind spot by the Westminster bubble. Food and farming is the bedrock of our economy and environment, with agriculture having been the backbone of Great Britain throughout history as the oldest industry in civilisation.”

Parliament Street’s report comes in light of the new National Infrastructure Strategy, which will aim to address Boris Johnson’s claim that full fibre (FTTP) broadband will be available to everyone across the country by the end of 2025.

However, efforts have already been made to tackle the connectivity issues in remote areas. The Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review (FTIR) has started to adopt an outside-in approach, to address rural regions on the outskirts of urban centres before working inwards.